Power and Privilege Displayed in A Woman on a Roof Essay
In Doris Lessing’s "A Woman on a Roof," three workmen react differently towards a woman sunbathing on a roof. The men are Harry, who is in his mid-40s, Stanley, who is newly married, and Tom, who is 17. They are engaged in a jovial banter when they spot a woman about fifty yards from where they are standing. She’s on her back, face down on a brown blanket. Stanley is first to comment, "She’s stark naked." Harry agrees, "Looks like it," while Tom cranes his neck so he can see more and replies, "She thinks no one can see." Stanley whistles, but the woman does not look up. She sits, smoking a cigarette (856).
This seems to be one of Lessing’s most critically neglected …show more content…
In an article titled "On Becoming Male," James Henslin says that males behave one way when they are among themselves and another way when they are with females. He calls this behavior "artificiality." Henslin points out that, because of this artificiality, men’s exercises in manipulation are reinforced when they learn how to get what they want, whether that be an approving smile, a caress, a kiss, or more (134). However, no matter what the three workmen do, the woman on the roof remains indifferent, as if she does not even see them. Therefore, by employing nonverbal communication tactics—ignoring, reading